It’s always interesting when you get an album through that’s the result of a side-project. Moreso when its from someone who used to be in a band you’re familiar with, and it’s advertised as being very much a sidestep genre-wise. Welcome to Thirsty, featuring Guy Bailey – founding guitarist of The Quiteboys – and Irina D – a Russian poet.
Guy has… a reputation. Those familiar with the Quireboys in their explosive beginnings will have some kind of idea what that reputation entailed. Sharon Osbourne once called him a “pain in the arse” so I like him more already. As well as strings, he adds his own hoarse vocals to this release. If a man was meant to sing the blues, it’s Guy.
Irina features on a handful of tracks, but generally is in charge of lyrical content. She’s done damn well, with some interesting twists and ideas. “Chaos”, for instance, focuses on a character who was supposed to be in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress but didn’t make it. The song is his chance to introduce himself. The lyrics are great and they’re backed by a rock track that could have timeslipped into this era from the 1970s. Producer Chris Kimsey has worked with The Stones and this definitely shows across the album.
“Cosmic Aphrodite” is one of the trio that Irina performs lead vocals on and it’s a very interesting number. Her vocal style is very much more spoken word than singing – perhaps not surprising, being a poet – and we’re sent spirally back a decade into the sixties… and all its associated chemical indulgences.
Filling up the line-up are Simon Hanson (drums – Death in Vegas, Squeeze), Chris Johnstone (bass / keyboards – The Quireboys) and Lynne Jackaman (backing vocals – Saint Jude, Jackaman). They all pull together to create a wonderful medley of sounds that are designed to wash over you. Everyone gets their chance to shine, such as Johnstone’s keys featuring very heavily in “Say It Ain’t So, Joe”. Which he wrote, so perhaps that’s why. Tell me the piano-esque section around the two minute mark doesn’t sound like the theme from Sesame Street, though.
Albatross isn’t a party-geared rock album as we’d expect from a founder of The Quireboys. This is the kind of thing you put on the next morning while you recover. It’s dreamy, floaty, trippy, chill-out fare.
Albatross is out on November 7th and you can pre-order it via Amazon to help support this site: download